Three deaths after Oceania ship fire

Three deaths after Oceania ship fire

Oceania Cruises confirmed last night that a crew member and two contractors died following an engine room fire on the ship Insignia in the Caribbean.

One member of crew remains in the hospital and is reported to be stable following the blaze which occurred while the ship was in St Lucia.

“The fire was contained to the engine room and extinguished. All guests are safe and have disembarked the vessel,” the luxury line said.

“Three crew members and two contractors who were working onboard were transferred to a local medical facility.

“We are deeply saddened to learn that two contractors and one crew member did not survive. We extend our deepest condolences to their families during this very difficult time.”

All 656 passengers are safe with charter flights arranged to fly them to Miami, as well as transfers and hotel accommodation until flights to their home cities can be organised today (Friday).

The 10-day cruise, which departed San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sunday and was due to arrive in Miami on December 17, has been cancelled.

It is not known if there were any Britons on board the vessel, which was refurbished earlier this year following a two-year charter to Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.

Insignia originally entered service in 1998 as one of a series of identical small ships built for the now defunct Renaissance Cruises.

Oceania said: “Our top priority is ensuring all 656 guests return home as quickly and comfortably as possible.

“All guests will receive a 100% refund, and a 50% credit towards a future Oceania Cruises voyage.

“Oceania Cruises president and chief operating officer Jason Montague, along with a team of guest and crew support and technical personnel, are in St Lucia.

“This team is leading the effort to ensure guests and crew are well cared for, as well as working with the ship’s team and authorities to assess the situation.”

More details will be made available as they become known, the line added.

Carnival Sunshine passengers bumped for contractors

Carnival Sunshine passengers bumped for contractors

By Tom Stieghorst
Carnival Cruise Lines confirmed that passengers have been bumped from a sailing of the Carnival Sunshine so that their cabins can be used by contractors finishing the ship.

Spokesman Vance Gulliksen said a “small number” of passengers were affected. They were asked to rebook, given a full refund and a voucher for a comparable future cruise. Passengers were selected in reverse order of booking, Carnival said.

“We are wrapping up some behind-the-scenes finishing work and needed a few extra cabins for remaining contractors,” Gulliksen said.

Carnival Sunshine is the result of a $155 million multi-month drydock to transform the former Carnival Destiny into a virtually new ship.

Passengers on the first cruise after the ship left drydock in early May were offered a $150 onboard credit to compensate for some of the ship’s features not being completed yet. A group of cabins on several decks were not finished by the embarkation date.

Sunshine is sailing nine- and 12-day cruises in the Mediterranean before moving to New Orleans late this year.